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National continues to target high-risk drivers


Hon Steven Joyce
National Party
Spokesman for Transport

11 November 2011 Media Statement
National continues to target high-risk drivers

Strengthening the driver licensing system to ensure young New Zealanders have the skills they need to be safe behind the wheel is central to National’s road safety policy, National Party Transport Spokesman Steven Joyce says.

National today released its road safety policy, which includes plans to stop drivers abusing the graduated licence system by passing legislation that limits the time anyone can spend on their learners or restricted licence.

"There are currently more than 113,000 learners licence holders (40 per cent), and almost 123,000 restricted licence holders (36 per cent) who have held that licence for more than five years.

"Progressing through the licence system – from learners to restricted to full licence – significantly reduces the crash risk for new drivers. These conditions should not be optional and we will ensure the graduated licence system is used properly to the benefit of all drivers.

"National will also introduce a tougher restricted licence test early next year to encourage young and novice drivers to spend more time practising their skills under supervision before they are able to drive solo.

"Motorcycle licence testing will also be strengthened and a power-to-weight restriction introduced for novice motorcyclists."

Mr Joyce says improving the safety of young drivers is a priority for National as young drivers are disproportionately represented in fatal and serious crash statistics.

"Last year 15 to 19 year-olds made up 7.4 per cent of New Zealand's population and 6.1 per cent of all licensed drivers, but they were involved in around 17 per cent of all serious injury crashes."

Crashes where young drivers were at fault resulted in 60 deaths and 385 serious injuries last year alone.

Mr Joyce says these further moves to keep young drivers safe will build on the work completed this year, including increasing the minimum driving age from 15 to 16 and introducing a nil blood alcohol limit for young drivers.

"In contrast, during Labour’s nine years in office very little progress was made in terms of road safety or reducing the road toll."

Visit National's road safety policy at:

http://www.national.org.nz/PDF_General/Road_Safety_policy.pdf

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